32 Years

I was a divorced mom of two little boys.

Hubby was a solider in the Army.

The company I was working for had transferred me from Central IL to Southern California.

Hubby’s tour in Germany was wrapping up and he was being stationed at Fort Lewis, WA.

Everything was changing for both of us.

Hubby flew from Germany to Illinois and then from Illinois to California.

The movers came and packed up my apartment to transfer everything to Washington.

We loaded up my little car, put the boys in their car seats and started the drive from California to Illinois.

On November 3, 1985, hubby and I stood side-by-side pledging our love, devotion and commitment to always stand side-by-side through good, bad, thick and thin.

Little did either of us know just how strong we would have to be during our 32 years of marriage.

We raised a son with autism, sitting with him many nights thru seizures and hospital stays.

We survived the teen years and huge challenges with our middle and youngest sons.

We adopted our beautiful daughters.

We buried our youngest son.

We have fostered 8 precious children.

We’ve gone thru financial struggles.

We’ve gone thru job losses and job changes.

We’ve survived numerous moves.

We’ve purchased homes.

We conquered building a house together.

We’ve mourned the loss of parents and grandparents.

We’ve travelled to many parts of the world.

We haven’t always done our best or been at our best, but we have fought and endured thru all the ups and downs.

We have held on tight to our love, devotion and commitment to each other through it all.

I married my best friend.

I married a man, who works hard and loves harder.

Are there regrets?  Maybe a few, but I wouldn’t change a thing.  All we’ve been through has caused us to change and grown stronger in the love we have for each other.

To my hubby . . . .

Thank you for staying with me on this 32 year-long ride.  It has been one of the most thrilling rides of my life and I can only hope that we are able to celebrate at least 32 more.

I share the same song every year because it so perfectly expresses our life together.  We had more than a few people who didn’t want us to marry.  We had more than a few people who didn’t think we would make it.  But here we are, 32 years later still going strong.

Anniversary Week

It was 9 years ago on this day, March 20th, that we anxiously sat in the lobby area of our Guatemala hotel awaiting the arrival of Lili’s foster family.  It was this day that they very tearfully handed Lili over to us – her forever family.

Two years later, on March 16th, we drove thru the orphanage gates with Naomi in our arms.  A very different experience from the one two years earlier.  Another baby girl placed in the arms of her forever family.

Lili is now 9 years old and Naomi is 7.  Hubby and I feel so very grateful that these two beautiful little girls call us daddy and mommy.

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These pictures capture the smiles of two beautiful little girls, each with very different personalities.

Lili loves art, reading, swimming and her dog Jagger.

Naomi loves watching movies, playing with her toys, dressing up and her acting class.

However, they are so much more than art and movies.  Having them join our family are two of the very best decision we’ve ever made.

 

 

 

 

Still Goin Strong

Today hubby and I celebrate 30 years of marriage.

Considering we are in full throttle trying to get ready for a big moving sale this weekend and a big move in 39 days (not that I’m counting down), we aren’t going to be doing much celebrating.  We’ll do more celebrating in January when we head out on a week-long cruise to the Eastern Caribbean 🙂

Although we may not be celebrating today in the traditional sense, we are celebrating none-the-less.  We’re celebrating 30 years of ups and downs.  We’re celebrating 30 years of triumphs and failures.  We’re celebrating 30 years of happiness and tears.  We’re celebrating 30 years of adventure and uncertainty.  We’re celebrating because through it all we continue to be life partners and best friends.

For the last several years I’ve shared the one song that best describes our life together.  You see, we really didn’t have a huge cheering section when we got married.  We had family and friends, who didn’t just think it was a mistake, but were completely against our union.  Some actually walked out of our lives altogether.  They didn’t think we would make it and some probably hoped we wouldn’t.  Yet here we are, we’re still together still goin strong and I can’t wait to see where life takes us over the next 30 years.

To my hubby, the love of my life.

Mother’s Day, Not Always a Day of Celebration

Today is the day we honor our mothers.  It’s a day set aside for moms to laugh, to smile, to enjoy being treated to a nice meal not prepared by a mother’s hands.  For some though, it’s a day of mourning.  It’s a day of looking around the table and feeling sorrow for the empty seat that was once occupied by a loving son or daughter.  For some, it’s sorrow for a womb that has remained empty.  A void, a longing for a child.  For some, it’s sadness for the child a mother was unable to raise herself.  For some, it’s the grieving of a mother that is gone or a mother estranged from the family.

I understand the importance of Mother’s Day, especially to my children.  A day for them to give me gifts and to treat me to lunch (with daddy’s help).  A day of learning to better appreciate me as their mother.  At the same time, this day is a day of real sadness in my home.

Today I think of one mother in Guatemala and one in Ethiopia.  Mothers, who every day think of the daughters they were unable to raise.  I think of these women every day, especially today.

-Jody Landers #Adoption

I also think of the mother of our foster sons.  Her life isn’t something I understand, but I do believe she is probably missing her boys today.

Today I feel the loss of my youngest son more than usual.  The last time I saw him alive was Mother’s Day.  It was May 9, 2010.  The next day he was gone.  For me, this is much more the anniversary of his death than it is Mother’s Day.  It’s not a day I want to celebrate.

If, for whatever reason, you are not celebrating Mother’s Day today, please know you are not alone.

"A mother's grief and mourning knows NO end, her love---NO boundaries." ~TeriAnn Sargent / "Every Angel Parent can face the ultimate tragedy and survive. It's the day-to-day living, after the fact, that will bring you to your knees." ~ B. J. Karrer of Grieving Mothers/FB [Click here - http://mothergrievinglossofchild.blogspot.com/2014/05/thursdays-therapy-surviving-mothers-day.html ] Mother Grieving Loss of Child - Thursday's Therapy - Surviving Mother's Day

 

 

 

 

Let Me Tell You a Story

I won’t fill in on the details, as this story could easily become a novel.  However, I will share some of the highlights, so it makes a little more sense in the end.

It all started back in the late 70’s.  My boyfriend had a party at his home after a concert.  Many of our friends and family were there and we were introduced to a young man from the area.  He came with a mutual friend and shortly thereafter we began to see him on a regular basis.  He was a regular at our house and other events and we all became great friends.

1+ years later, I married my boyfriend and the young man lived just a few blocks away.  He regularly came over for dinner.  He joined us for games of ping-pong in our basement and attended Dungeons and Dragons games my husband hosted.  He was a wonderful friend, who made me laugh and would keep me company some evenings when my husband was working late into the night.

Eventually, this young man joined the Army and walked out of our life.  From time-to-time, I would get updates from his mom, but when my husband and I moved to another town, we pretty much lost any contact we had with the young man.

A couple of years later I was a single mom living in a small apartment near my family.  My now ex-husband called to tell me that the young man had paid him a visit.  He was home on leave and was making contact with some old friends.  My ex-husband encouraged him to call me for a visit so he could see how much the boys had grown and he wanted to let me know I would probably be hearing from the young man.

Several days went by with no contact, so I called his mom to see if he was still home or if he had returned overseas.  We had developed such a good friendship over the years and I was anxious to see him again and find out how life was treating him.  His mom assured me he was still home for a visit and would have him call.  A few more days went by and no contact so I called again.  He was still home for several more days and I his mom once again said she would ask him to call.

He finally returned my call and I invited him over for a visit.  The boys and I were at my parent’s house doing laundry and the young many can over for a visit.  We chatted about his life, my life, the boys and everything in between.  My sister agreed to watch the boys so the young man and I could go out to chat more.  I knew this might be the last time I would see him before he left again and it’s hard to catch up on years missed, especially with two little guys underfoot.

The young man and I had a fantastic visit.  He admitted that he wasn’t going to call me.  After all, his friendship with me previously was a result of his stronger friendship with my now ex-husband and he felt it would be awkward seeing me.  Yet we had both changed.  The Army has a way of turning boys into men and for me, marriage, kids and a divorce caused me to look at life very differently and I felt like I had become a better person in the end.   The young man and I discovered that we had much more in common than we did before and we saw each other daily until he left for his life in Army.

The friendship once shared had changed.  We became closer friends.  We became a couple.

For the following 10 months we wrote letters and made phone calls.  We continued our relationship, he on one side of the world and me on the other.  We learned more and more about each other – our likes, our dislikes, fears, dreams, and where we wanted to be in the future.

The young man returned stateside in October, 1985 and on November 3, 1985 we were married.  It wasn’t an easy road for either of us.  To say that some family members weren’t in favor of us marrying is an understatement.  We were a blended family learning how to be a couple, while also learning how to parent the boys as a couple.  We have had more than our fair share of heartaches, the biggest one of course was losing our son 4 years ago.  Yet 29 years later here we are.  Hubby and I together now raising two beautiful girls that became ours through adoption.  Caring for two little boys via foster care.  We’ve built a life, that hasn’t always been easy, but it’s our life and I can’t imagine sharing it with anyone else.

Each year I post a video of the song that represents us in so many ways and this year should be no different.

To my hubby – I love you!!!  You are my heart and soul.  You are the rock that helps keep me grounded.  You are a wonderful father and partner.  I know life hasn’t always been easy, but it’s never been boring and I know that our love is strong enough to withstand any obstacles that come our way.

You were and still are the one and only for me.

Four Years Ago

May 10th, 2010

It was the day after Mother’s Day.  The doorbell rang and when I answered the door I was given the news that our youngest son had died.

This is not an anniversary I celebrate.  Every day I think of my son, but this day I think of him more often.  This is not an easy day to relive, but with each year it becomes a little easier.

Today we took a little day trip.  I’ll share details of our trip in my next blog post, but our day away made me smile.  I suppose the day gave me a different perspective.  It gave me the ability to look at life and our son’s death differently somehow.

Although I miss him every day, my memories of his life are less tearful now and maybe the key to getting thru May 10th is to spend the day with the people I love, doing something that truly makes us happy.  After all, I think he would only want us to be happy.

Ben August , 1988- May 10, 2010
Ben
August 4, 1988- May 10, 2010